Heavy equipment and engine maker Caterpillar Inc has gained more presence in the hazardous-area safety market with its acquisition of Pyroban Group Ltd.
Under its new owner, Pyroban reports to the Houston-based global petroleum group of Caterpillar's marine and petroleum power division.
Cat acquired 100% interest in Pyroban of Shoreham-by-Sea in south east England on 31 August. Terms were not disclosed.
The purchase enables the Cat group to offer more fully-integrated power solutions and grow its presence in the global hazardous-area protection industry.
Pyroban employs about 150 people and provides explosion protection safety solutions. Its engineering kits and components are designed to modify engines, engine systems, forklift trucks, telehandlers, other material handling equipment and mining apparatus to meet safety certifications.
Currently, Pyroban solutions are incorporated in Cat-brand petroleum engines for operation in hazardous areas. Cat says that Pyroban solutions and services will remain available under existing brands in Europe and Asia for Pyroban's global client base.
Cat's global dealer network will have access to the Pyroban technology to increase the safety of customer operations offshore, onshore and underground. Cat notes: "In particular, many solutions will be available in the Americas for the first time."
Recent Pyroban acquisitions include Adex Zonex Pte Ltd of Jurong, Singapore on 11 August, Broadland Radiators and Heat Exchangers Ltd of Norwich, England on 29 July (Forkliftaction.com News #528)
and Pyropress Engineering Co Ltd of Plymouth, England in mid-2010.
In early 2010, Pyroban in North America began offering explosion-proof (EX) conversions on used equipment as an addition to its previous explosion-protection service for new forklifts (Forkliftaction.com News #445
Parent firm Pyroban has offered EX conversion of used equipment in Europe since 1972 and China since 2006. Most Pyroban conversion work and manufacturing occurs in Shoreham-by-Sea; Hendrik Ido Ambacht, the Netherlands; and Suzhou, China.
Pyroban began in 1969 as a post-accident project at Imperial Chemical Industries. Phil Tyrer formed Power Research Ltd in 1972 to offer prototype design and development techniques. The company's name was changed to Pyroban in 1974.
In 1980, Pyroban pioneered gas detection on battery-powered electric vehicles such as forklifts, facilitating their use in the presence of a flammable gas or vapour.
Tyrer's son, Brian, is listed as chairman and Ian Ratcliff as managing director.
Peoria, Illinois-based machinery and engine giant Caterpillar recorded 2010 profit of USD2.7 billion on sales of USD42.6 billion and, as of 31 December, had more than 104,000 full-time employees.
The marine and petroleum power division has primary involvement with reciprocating engines supplied to the marine and petroleum industries and also manufactures certain reciprocating engines for marine, petroleum and electric power applications.
Apart from the Pyroban acquisition, Caterpillar with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd has a joint forklift venture with manufacturing, sales and product support operations in Tokyo, Japan; Houston, Texas, United States; and Almere, the Netherlands; and additional sales and product support locations in Singapore and Shanghai, China.